Cloud Computing Wins Preakness in Thrilling Finish, But Ends Triple Crown Dreams

Posted on: May 22, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: May 22, 2017, 10:59h.

There will be no Triple Crown winner in 2017.

Cloud Computing shocked horse racing on Saturday evening in Baltimore by winning the 142nd Preakness Stakes. The 13-1 longshot came out of nowhere to upset Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, and second-place finisher Classic Empire.

Cloud Computing Preakness Triple Crown
It was neck and neck at the Preakness, but underdog Cloud Computing (#2) surged from behind to win, beating Classic Empire (#5) by a nose. (Image: AP)

The victory returned $28.80 for every $2 bettors placed on the winning horse at Pimlico Race Course.

With this surprise finish in the second leg of the Triple Crown, Cloud Computing has effectively knocked down any extra excitement in horse racing for the year. That, of course, is disappointing news for the Belmont Stakes, which has benefited 14 times since 1978 by having a horse in contention for the sport’s greatest, most elusive triumph.

Always Dreaming, the heavy favorite at 6-5, struggled down the homestretch to finish eighth in a field of 10 horses. Classic Empire’s runner-up finish was followed by Senior Investment, whose show at deep 25-1 odds returned $10.20 per $2.

Bettors who successfully predicted the trifecta were handsomely rewarded. A $1 wager returned $1,097.80 on tickets that has Cloud Computing, Classic Empire, and Senior Investment in the correct finishing order.

Still Dreaming

Cloud Computing is co-owned by Seth Klarman, a billionaire hedge fund owner who grew up near Pimlico in Baltimore. Though he now lives and works in Boston, the victory in Maryland where he was raised was extra special.

“Never imagined I’d own a horse, let alone be the winner of the Preakness,” Klarman explained Saturday.

He said the $900,000 first-place check was a result of holding Cloud Computing out of the Kentucky Derby. “Some of the reason we won today was because we were patient and didn’t throw an inexperienced horse against a 20-horse field in the Derby on a very difficult track,” Klarman opined.

Running a field half the size of the Derby’s, the Preakness enjoys the benefit of every year welcoming a horse with Triple Crown hopes alive. This year that horse was Always Dreaming.

The 2017 race took in a record handle, and set a new attendance mark. The gate at Pimlico counted 140,327 attendees, trumping last year’s record by more than 5,000. As for the bets, the 14-race program collected $97,168,658 in handle, topping last year’s $94,127,434.

Belmont Bummer

While it was a record-setting day for Pimlico and the Preakness, the final leg of the Triple Crown will not likely enjoy the same riches. Horse racing is a struggling sport in America, with dozens of tracks across the country are in poor economic state.

But for three races a year, Americans are glued to their televisions for a couple minutes to watch, in part to see if this is one of those years highlighting a truly special horse that will go down in history. Few had known such a feat until American Pharoah won the horse racing grand slam in 2015, the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

The 37-year drought attracted viewers yearly to see if the unthinkable could come into focus. While some believed Pharoah’s victory was the best thing to happen to horse racing, at a time when the sport desperately needed it, others predicted it would have a long-term negative effect.

The horse racing world will get a better sense of which way the sport may go at the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 10, the date of the running of the now less-than-consequential third leg of the Triple Crown.

Triple Crown Royalty

Only 12 horses in history have won the Triple Crown, in what’s known as “the sport of kings.” They are as follows:

1919: Sir Barton
1930: Gallant Fox
1935: Omaha
1937: War Admiral
1941: Whirlaway
1943: Count Fleet
1946: Assault
1948: Citation
1973: Secretariat
1977: Seattle Slew
1978: Affirmed
2015: American Pharoah